You know the Jobs to Be Done that people within companies in your target market have, and the things they are pulling into their lives to get them done right now. The market forces are telling you that people want something better, and there's an opportunity to provide if you can just move fast enough.
The quickest way to success is to, as Steve Jobs famously said, "start with the customer experience, and work backwards to the technology." How might we solve the customer's problem in a way that better fits into their life and the way they currently work? You’re crazy enough to think you can do the Job better. And that's what innovation is all about.
Sounds good, but what’s with the name “Ocean’s Seven”?
Over the years, I’ve had the privilege of helping a lot of companies think through innovation initiatives. What I have found is that a team larger than seven typically can’t move fast enough. A team smaller than three usually doesn’t have a diverse enough perspective or skillset to be effective.
Just like Danny Ocean in Ocean's Eleven, we need to hand-pick the best individuals with the right contrast in perspectives and skillsets to have a shot at pulling off the Job (to Be Done).
We need data. Lots of data.
It's important to take a second and point out that if you don't have hard data yet, it’s better that we start with my Extraction process and come back to this once we truly understand the progress customers are trying to make. If you already have that data, let's review it together so that I understand the full story before we commit to a project.
Real artists ship.
Nobody wants to spend their time coming up with ideas that never go to market. That's why I emphasize planning on the other side of identifying a solution. We will identify how operations would have to change to accommodate the winning idea, up to and including releasing it under a different brand name.
Step 1: Identify the Team
We will need the following skills and personalities on the team for the best chance of success. A single person can fill more than one role, but I advise against one person filling more than three of these.
A single lead who has the authority to make decisions and be a visionary and galvanizing force for the team.
A big picture thinker who is able to go deep on his or her area of expertise. A strategic thinker who is able to see the multiple moves ahead. Generally from a design, product, or engineering background.
Understands the dynamics of the group and of the company at large. Able to read motivations and anticipate how big changes are going to affect people socially and emotionally.
They saw the need for this before anybody else. They don't always follow the rules, but they always have the team's best interest at heart. Outspoken and candid.
They know what it takes to get things done. They think about the little things and question over-enthusiastic estimations and overly simplistic plans. Usually a project manager.
They know the customer because they talk to them frequently. They have been waiting for someone to listen to their ideas for a long time, and they're happy something's finally happening.